For startup founders, passion for your business comes naturally. But customer service? Sometimes, not so much. While it is easy to obsess over every product or service feature, businesses need to prioritise building relationships with their customers from day one.
This is critical in the overall success of a business, given a product is only as good as the customer buying or using it says.
That said, cultivating a relationship with your customers can be difficult. At the heart of it all is being committed to listening, as awkward and painful as some customer conversations may be. This will help you gather invaluable feedback to build a product or service that truly meets their needs.
With a New Year nearly upon us, it is time to make 2019 the year you emerge from the product development bubble and make customer experience (CX) a core business focus. Even if resources are scarce, there are simple ways to set your CX up for success.
Talk to every customer
In the beginning, you will have the least amount of resources and processes in place – so it is all hands on deck. As the face of the company, the founder must be available to your early customers on a personal level.
Give customers your email address and respond in a timely fashion. Model this behaviour in front of your team, however small or large, and treat your customers’ feedback as your free Research & Development team.
Get to know their needs and listen to what they have to say, no matter how tough it might be to hear.
Learn what makes customers happy and what makes them angry
Listening is a key component of building a game changing CX. We often consult our customers on taking an outside-in approach to building their CX strategy. Listen on your social media channels and investigate every complaint. Look into the details to find meaningful insights. Analyse bad ratings that include comments.
While it might be tempting to spend time on the glowing reviews, you will garner more actionable information from those customers who are unhappy with your product or service. Do not ignore them because they tell a story you are not prepared to hear. Pay attention for precisely that reason.
Get a single view of feedback from all channels
To ensure a customer experience mindset is fully embedded across your business, introduce tools that offer a unified view of your support process. Customer support software enables you to connect all of your channels – email, phone, social media, chat, etc – into a single view.
No matter which channel your customers choose, you will want those interactions to appear in the same place.
Your first steps will be to connect your [email protected] and [email protected] email addresses, as well as your social media channels. If you master these well, scaling and adding channels later will be simple.
Make acting on customer feedback a daily routine
Once you have established a dialogue with customers, it is important to ensure that being responsive to feedback becomes part of everyone’s daily routine.
Follow-up with users who give you a negative rating. This is a great way to build trust with customers and retain their business. Meet every week to discuss customer satisfaction outcomes. Set time aside for the team to analyse negative comments and brainstorm about ways to remedy the underlying causes.
Finally, group negative comments by cause and look for trends. Doing this will help you identify problem areas such as long ticket resolution times, poor product documentation, or bugs/unexpected product behaviour.
Amplify the voice of your users
Do not stop with simply talking to customers – make their voice the loudest thing in the room. For example, you could use software like Geckoboard or Klipfolio to create internal dashboards that display real-time customer feedback (as well as other important business metrics).
Consider building a dedicated channel in Slack that broadcasts customer issues to all employees. It is a great way to get product managers, engineers, and other employees directly involved in the support process.
Customer relationships will make or break your business. While you are planning for the coming year, have a plan to make customer relationships a priority. This mindset will set you up for long term success.
The best customer experiences are built with Zendesk. Our customer service and engagement products are powerful and flexible, and scale to meet the needs of any business. Zendesk serves businesses across hundreds of industries, with more than 125,000 paid customer accounts offering service and support in over 30 languages. Zendesk is headquartered in San Francisco, and operates worldwide with 16 offices in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.